Sunday, November 30, 2014

Worlds End State Park Winter Run

I've had small nagging injuries and then I've been working like crazy lately.  I haven't run anywhere near as much as I wanted to.  I set up a night run last night, but no one showed up.  I needed a great, even EPIC run today.  The Eagles played on Thanksgiving, so my whole day was free.

I've been wanting to run at Worlds End State Park.  It is pretty far, but seemed to have some awesome climbs and great views.  I headed out there late in the morning and got started around noon.  The plan was to run for like 3-5 hours.  I was hoping that that would translate into 20 miles or so.

I parked at the main office and grabbed a map.  I had planned a route, but I wanted to make sure that it made sense.  There was a nice seven mile or so loop that I found that would have plenty of challenging climbs.

Dressing was a real challenge.  There was snow on the ground, but it was pretty warm.  I needed to make sure my ankles were covered from the snow.  At first, I was going to wear tights.  Then, I saw compression socks in my bag.  That was perfect as I wore them with shorts.  I had a light long sleeve top and jacket over it.  I didn't want the jacket, but I figured I might need it at times with the slow go of this run/hike.

I headed on to the Link Trail.  The Loyalsock Trail seemed like the much steeper option, so I figured that the more gradual option was better for the start.  I could get my breathing under control too.

So much for easy.  It was a rock scramble next to a stream.  It was a slow go and I had to make sure not to slip into the water.  I survived.  There was more snow than I expected.  Luckily, it was soft, slushy snow. 

After working my way along the creek, it was time to cross the road and climb.  I ran for a bit, but even this way was steep.  I had to hike.  At least it wasn't too bad.  I didn't slide backwards or anything.  That had been a real concern with the crappy traction of my trail shoes.

This climb actually wasn't as long as I thought it would be.  It sure was steep, but hiking most of it meant that I was to the top fairly quickly.  I ran by some cool rocks along a ridge.  Luckily, I looked at map earlier, or I might've missed going the correct direction.

After some of the rocks, I came down to the Loyalsock Canyon Vista.  This a spectacular view of several mountains in a row.  I stayed there for a bit and ate part of a sandwich.  I then went to see this cool Rock Garden, with giant boulders. 

I saw a couple mountain bikers and they were impressed that I was wearing shorts.  I told them I was sort of running.  I checked a map again and began running downhill.  This was my biggest concern.  I was able to run for awhile, but then I was along a ridge and it was too risky to run.  I walked down carefully.

It took awhile to get back down.  I decided to change up my route.  I'd headed back to the car and then climb back up the Loyalsock Trail.  This first climb had been about 1,000 feet, in only about 2 miles.

I had trouble on the Link Trail again.  I ran through it faster and with more confidence this time.  However, I missed the trail markings.  I should've paid more attention.  Eventually, I headed in the right way and was back at the car.

I then found the Worlds End Trail.  This was the steep climb that I was going to avoid.  However, I decided to run it.  I ran for a bit, but then it got too steep.  It was almost hard to hike up.  I kept climbing at an intersection.  That came up quickly, so it threw me off.  I should've turned there.

Instead, I was climbing more and more.  It was super steep and very short.  At one point, I was going up a sketchy ridge.  I saw deer prints and was wondering how smoothly it made its way up the trail.  That, I would've loved to see.  After a bit, the trail was slightly overgrown and there was a sign for the trail.  I realized that maybe I was supposed to turn earlier.

I now had to make my way back down.  This would be interesting I knew.  It sure was and I had to be super careful to not fall off the side of the mountain.  I grabbed some small trees, but I made it down.  It was great to be back at the car once more.

I ate more of my sandwich and some chips.  I had climbed a bit, but was still only around mile 5.  It was crazy.  It was such a slow go too.  Next, I went up the other mountains across the park.  The plan was to take the High Rock Trail.

The High Rock Trail was supposed to go to some waterfalls.  I missed them I guess, but I did cross over the water.  Then, I saw why it was called High Rock Trail.  There was a crazy rock scramble that was hard to even find the way.  It was snowy and I had to be careful.  I was very slow.

This went through a cool pine forest section.  Then, it came out to a view.  I wanted more running, so I headed back down.  The downhill rock scramble took forever, but again I made it without falling.

I decided that I would run up the Butternut Trail now.  That was another climb.  I wasn't sure how tough it would be.  As I went from the High Rock Trail to the Butternut Trail, I slipped and fell around the turn.  It was an easy turn, but muddy.  That was my only fall.  I banged my knee and that really stung, but I continued on.

I was able to run a lot of this in the beginning.  It was a wide woods road.  My feet got wet in some sloppy conditions a few times, but luckily I kept my feet pretty dry for most of the run.  This climb was still a run and hike combination.

It went to a loop and I took the upper road.  It was a woods road for a bit, but then turned into a ridge singeltrack.  That was fun, but I had to be careful again.

This area was beautiful.  It went around the mountain to a high mountain creek.  Then, I crossed the small creek and the trail followed on the other side.  This is some of my favorite type of trail.  It then went around the mountain on the other side.

Eventually, I came to another vista.  This one was just okay.  I followed the loop trail back.  I thought it would be quite runnable, like the other part of the loop.  I was sure wrong.  It was super rocky and tricky.  I had to go very slow over these boulders.  I laughed when I got to mile 9 and it was over 3 hours into the run.  That's super slow. 

I had to be careful along the ridge.  Then, it opened up a bit at times.  I could run downhill some more.  When I got back to the end of the loop, I went uphill for another 100+ feet.  I wanted to make sure to get over 3,000 feet of elevation gain.  I did just that.

I headed back down the woods road.  I then was back into the park area.  I had to run on the road briefly.  I got back to my car to finish up.

This was an outstanding winter run.  It was all I had thought it would be and more.  The snow cover made it both more challenging and more spectacular.  Without it, it wouldn't have mattered.  This is an excellent park.  It had so many different types of terrain and so much challenging climbing.  I'll be back there for sure.

I wish I could've got more miles in, but I was thrilled with all of the elevation gain.  My back was pretty sore by the end and I had pushed my legs a bit.  I don't need to overdo it, since I have a 50k on Saturday.  Perhaps most important, I was happy to not get hurt.  In hindsight, this was quite the dangerous place to run alone in these conditions.

I plan on challenging myself in winter runs/hikes like this.  In winter, I've usually run on roads.  I'm done with that now.  I'm running or getting climbs in any way possible, no matter how much snow we have.  There's a great video of Anton Krupicka running in the snow and I used that as inspiration today.  I was signing the songs from it often.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do tomorrow.  I'm hoping to have time now and get back into the swing of running regularly again.  I'd like to run tomorrow, but it is the first day of hunting season, so I need to be careful.  We shall see what happens.

10.37 miles - 3:25:04 (19:46 pace)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pre Thanksgiving Snowfall

I had a brief period of time for my run today, in between work sessions.  It was the first snow of the year and we got at least 5 inches.  I couldn't resist and I headed to Jacobsburg.

The snow was heavier earlier, but it was still falling.  I had on all my winter gear.  I was the only one in the parking lot.  I did see a guy walking his dog in the beginning.  There were some footprints and bike tracks throughout.

The scenery was beautiful.  I did the usual 6 mile loop.  The beginning amongst the tall trees was amazing.  I stopped over and over again to take photos on this run.

Some of the uphills were interesting.  The snow was very runnable, which is something I had been worried about.  That said, it did still slow me down.  I survived though. 

The singletrack portions of the run were a mess.  The snow was melting and it was slushy.  Luckily, I didn't get hit by any of the snow that was falling from the trees.

Even with frequently stops, I still ran the entire run under a 10 minute pace.  The powerline climb was quite the struggle.  I battled and battled up that.  I had to dodge a few fallen tree branches.

It was an eventful run, but definitely worth it.  There's nothing quite like running in the snow.  I'm hoping to do much, much more of it over the winter.  This sure was quite the early snowfall.  I will take my snowshoes out at some point too.

Tomorrow, is the craziest day of the year at work.  After that, I can hopefully relax a little on Friday.  I need to make sure to sign up for a 50k on Friday.  It sells out fast.

6 miles - 55:44 (9:17 pace)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

First Run at Warren Highlands Trail (Marble Hill)

I've been so busy at work.  Every day, I take my trail shoes and gear with me to work, hoping that I can find some time to run.  That finally happened today, as I had a 3 PM order and then an 8:45 PM order.

The order was in Phillipsburg, so I decided to run a nearby trail, The Warren Highlands Trail.  It's a new one that I explored by hiking a few months back, but haven't run yet.  I discovered it by accident while doing a road run over there.

I was hoping to find the upper lot, but I had no luck, so I parked on the lot on River Road.  It was great weather.  I was able to wear shorts and a short sleeve shirt.  When can you do that in late November?  Of course it won't last with snow coming tomorrow.  I also put on my orange vest, since it said you could hunt there.

When I started out over the summer or early fall, the grassy first section was quite overgrown, so I drove up the road to the lot.  Today, the grass was dead and this section was a breeze.  Before long, I was on to the singletrack.

This part was fairly rocky and my foot bothered me slightly.  It got better as the run went on though.  There was quite a bit of early climbing.  What made it cool was that it was a singletrack along the ridge.  You had a seasonal view of the Delaware River on the other side, as you climbed.

It seemed like I went up and up and up.  The climb was gradual and not too challenging (other than it was early in the run).  My breathing was only slightly labored.  I stopped for a few photos, but mostly I ran on.  I thought I gained a lot more elevation on this climb than I actually did.  It was still quality though.

The singletrack does weave in and out after climbing.  The leaves are now on the ground and following the trail started getting tricky.  The problem is that it isn't used too often, so you really have to focus on the blazes.

I ended up missing the blue blazes when the trail split with the yellow trail.  That meant some fairly steep downhill running.  This part is used even less and even more difficult to follow.  It was still fun though.

Eventually, I somehow made it to the road.  I ran on the road a bit, until the parking lot that I knew.  Then, I quickly checked a map and headed back out on the yellow trail.

I was trying to find the link back up with the blue trail.  Again, I wasn't paying much attention.  I ended up passing a hunter in camouflage with a bow and arrow.  That was weird because I think he was in a section that doesn't allow hunting.

The trail seemed to get worse and worse.  Shortly after passing the hunter, I didn't see yellow blazes any more.  That was frustrating, but I continued on.  Eventually, I came to a bunch of disgarded tires.  I ran on some more and lost the trail.  I went back to the tires because I knew the other trail must lead to the road.

It did and I began running on the road.  I was hoping to find the blue trail some how.  I thought it went by the fairgrounds, so I wanted to go there.  I was on the road for quite some time.

I don't like running on roads, but this was a nice one.  It was lightly traveled with rolling hills through farmland.  I could see the Delaware Water Gap and Wind Gap from high above.  I ran by a bunch of cows and sheep. 

Going up one climb, I was surprised by a bicyclist passing me.  He was encouraging me as I was breathing heavy.  I kept going and going, but this road never ended and I never found the trail.  Finally, I turned around at mile 4.

It was nice knowing that I could go mostly downhill on the way back.  A dog at a house barked at me.  I had been more worried about the cows, because their fence looked weak.  They did nothing though.  I saw a horse along the road as well.  I enjoyed running into the setting sun.  It was getting chilly.

I wanted to try something different.  Therefore, I decided to run up this powerline near the parking lot.  It looked super steep and like crazy fun.  It was grass covered, but relatively clear.  I figured I'd give it a try.

That was a mistake.  I ended up running for a bit.  Then, it simply got too steep and muddy.  I had to hike.  I was hoping to make it to the flat part.  I ran a little more, but mostly I just hiked all the way up.  I think it was about 300 feet of elevation gain in about two tenths of a mile.  That's just insane.  It seemed like a perfect place to practice both running and hiking for Hyner.  I may come back to do repeats there.

This got me a lot of elevation gain and I was now over 1,000 feet.  At the top, I encountered the blue trail.  I ran on it, but it was tricky to follow.  It was overgrown in this area in the summer and there were still branches here and there.  A giant tree was even blocking the path.  I had to watch closely for the blazes.  Eventually, I found them.

As I got farther along, the trail was more worn down.  It really opened up and became fun.  That was especially true as I went downhill.  Before I knew it, I was running along the ridge and then I was at the bottom of the ridge.

I was closing in on 8 miles as I got through the grassy part.  There is another powerline, perhaps the same one, near there.  I ran up this for less than a tenth of a mile.  This was a more gradual climb.  It was fun.  It would be good for more runnable repeats.  I then finished up with 8 miles and walked back down to my car.

This is an excellent place to run.  It has some fun and somewhat challenging singletrack.  I can get some crazy powerline climbs in if I chose too.  I like having a trail like this so close.  I do wish it was used more often.  Maybe when the whole Highlands Trail is finished, it will be awesome.

I have no idea when I'm going to run again.  I'd love to get out in the snow for an hour or so tomorrow.  That depends on how the day goes.  I want to play in the snow.  If I can't run then, I probably won't make it out there until Black Friday.

8 miles - 1:25:44 (10:43 pace)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Short Trexler Night Run

I was going to run all afternoon at Trexler (in between orders).  However, the winter clothes that I had with me would've been too warm.  Therefore, I headed home for the afternoon.

I was determined though.  My night order was very late at night, so I decided on a night run at Trexler.  It was just before 7 PM when I got there.

Once the sun set, it was near freezing again.  The temperature was 34 degrees.  I had on tights, a ColdGear top, fleece vest, gloves and a headband.  It was super windy and freezing at the start, but comfortable at other times.

There was a dog barking when I parked.  That was annoying.  I also had to go to the bathroom, but it is a far walk there, so I elected not to go before starting.  That was a huge mistake.

I borrowed my dad's headlamp, rather than use my own.  I'm not sure how good his batteries were, but his light wasn't great.  It was adequate, but a little hard to see.  At least the trail is relatively smooth.  My eyes were watering, so that didn't help my vision either.

I ran down the early hills and started up the first steep hill.  I was breathing a little heavy and it was kind of tough.  I knew I could run up it, but decided not to push it.  I hiked the final third of it.  There was loud music coming from my left.  It could've been an event at the zoo.  I have no idea what else it could've been.

I continued on, but wasn't feeling great.  I felt the bathroom urges come on during the uphills.  They would be gone on the downhills though.  As I neared the zoo extra, I saw two pair of glowing green eyes.  They were about the height of deer.

I continued through the rocky section and on to the road crossing.  I then headed up the long gradual hill.  My bathroom urges got worse and worse.  I didn't even make it to the first flat part of the hill.  I had to stop and walk. 

That ended my run.  I decided to turn around and just hike all the way back.  That was kind of nice, but a little chilly.

This was disappointing, but at least I got some miles in.  I might have to come back there before my night run there next weekend.  I can test it out. 

I'll be so busy with work over the next week.  I have no idea when I'll be able to run.  I'll run whenever I can. 

1.54 miles - 15:48 (10:18 pace)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Near Midnight and Sub Freezing J-burg Run

It's been a crazy busy week in work.  I haven't run since the weekend.  Today, I worked from about 11 in the morning until 11 at night.  Even though I was exhausted, I was determined to run.

I decided to head to Jacobsburg for a night trail run.  It was 11:33 PM when I started.  The plan was to run the Sober's Run loop.  Most of it would be easy, but I was hoping to run some of the technical singletrack.  I was even planning to do a short loop and cross the creek too, right before finishing up.

This plan was crazy enough, but the weather made it even more nuts.  It has barely been above freezing during the day, the last two days.  It was 27 degrees when I started the run.  I had on tights, a ColdGear top, gloves, a headband and even a fleece vest.

I parked in the small lot, started my watch and was going.  My headlamp wasn't too bright, but I figured it would be okay on this non technical course.  It is a flat start and then shortly after that, I climbed the powerline.  That wasn't bad and my breathing seemed good.  Even though the temperature was cold, I was actually kind of warm with all of my gear.

The powerline was good at first, then my major problem began.  The headlamp began to flicker and shut off.  I was able to turn it back on a few times.  That was good because there are boards on this uphill.  I could've tripped on them.

Since I couldn't see, the climb wasn't as daunting as usual.  In fact, it seemed super easy and was over in no time.  The headlamp went on and off a few times, before the regular lamp part was gone for good.

Now, all I had was a faint red color.  Still, that was better than nothing.  I had to really focus, but at least I could see.  I ran along.  The run seemed to be going by quickly.  I was starting the long descent.

Luckily, this trail is quite wide.  It was also fairly bright, even though the moon isn't at its strongest phase right now.  At least I could make out where the trail was, even though I couldn't see.

On the way down, even my red light went out.  It went back to a very faint normal light.  It wasn't enough light to see.  I just had to run on feel and knowledge of the course.  I always felt like I've run Jacobsburg so many times that I could run it in the dark.  Now, I was putting that to the test.  For the most part, I was successful.

I had to be careful on the downhill because there were some more boards.  I could just see them.  I did nearly stumble a few times, as there were a few uphill bumps.  I bashed my foot on a few rocks, but luckily this section was great.  There weren't many of those.  With all the rest I've had lately and putting some inserts into my shoes, my left foot is doing much, much better.  I'm still going to take care of it though and be careful.

I almost missed one turn, but other than that, things were easy.  Since I had no light, I couldn't head to the singletrack section.  That was disappointing.  I went back on the main trail.  This part is like a smooth rail trail and in fact, across the road is a rail trail.

I couldn't see too well in this section.  It can get muddy at times and I was slightly worried about potential ice.  I had not issues though.  I cruised along and finished up.  My water bottle was beginning to freeze. 
I wasn't able to get as much running done as I wanted, but it was still a productive night.  The trail run was much needed after a long day at work.  I may have to get here more often at night.  I have a new friend and she trail runs at night all the time.  I thought about that and it was a big inspiration to get me out there after work.  I also thought that it would be a good test to run at night when I'm tired.  That's good practice for future ultras.

I'm busy again at work tomorrow.  I might have some free time in the afternoon though.  I'm hoping to run at Trexler again.  I want to do the 10 mile loop.  I'd even love to do it twice.  This might be my only chance in the next two week to run for several hours.  Work will be super busy.

2.49 miles - 21:46 (8:45 pace)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

First Long Trexler Loop

With my banged up foot, I took Saturday off.  I nearly took Sunday off too.  It is hard to get out there when you aren't 100%.  Rest would be better anyway.  However, I couldn't sit around all day.

I went to the drugstore and got an insert for my shoe.  I figured maybe it would help my foot.  It was awkward at first, but seemed to do a pretty good job on this run.  I headed to Trexler to run.  I've never run the longer loop and wanted to try that.  It adds quite a bit more elevation in 1.5 additional miles.

The weather was tricky.  It was quite cold, around 40 degrees, even in the afternoon.  Since I wasn't going hard, I decided on tights and a light weight long sleeve shirt.  I also had on a hat and gloves.  It was a bit much, but still manageable.  At least I wisely elected to go without the fleece vest.  Clothing decisions are always tough because it is much colder and windier at the start.

I began taking it easy.  Going up the steep early hill was quite tough.  My breathing in the cold air was labored.  I didn't stop running though.  I ran that first mile at just under 9 minutes.  It was a solid start.

This was a good course for my foot.  It isn't too rocky and most of the rocks are small and loose.  I managed to handle it pretty well.  A few times I did hit a rock funny and it hurt a bit.  I survived though and am getting better day by day.

This whole beginning was rather uneventful.  It is kind of funny because most people like Trexler when it is full of color.  It was dead and gloomy today and that is perfect for me.  That means cool weather.  My breathing wasn't bad, but it was slightly labored for longer than I expected. 

My right leg was sore early, but that went away.  I thought maybe it was from running differently with my messed up foot, but I'm not actually sure.  The only other issue was a good amount of mud.  That made it slippery.  My shoes aren't good on rocks or slippery conditions.

I continued to cruise along.  I ran straight through until the big hill.  It was early and I was taking a new route, so I hiked quite a bit of that hill.  I ran the next hill after that, but was quite beat so I walked the flat part at the top.

I didn't eat lunch before the run.  I was concerned about not having many calories.  Luckily, I was taking it easy.  I turned on to the green trail, for the new route.  It climbed right away.  I wasn't quite prepared for that.  It was a mix of running and hiking for me.

This climb was a good workout.  After the green trail, I took the orange trail.  This whole area was a mix of running and hiking.  I was being conservative.

Luckily for me, there was a kiosk at the top.  I stopped and took out a map and made sure I went the correct way.  I did so.  I saw a pheasant run across the trail.  I had see a runner earlier, but other than that I was on my own.

I almost didn't see the turn for the white trail.  I noticed it at the last minute.  It was a steep descent.  I bet it is an awesome climb in the other direction.  At the bottom, I crossed a small feeder creek.  I didn't even have to get my feet wet.

I crossed the road and was on to the blue trail.  I knew part of this loop.  Turning right went along the creek and was the easier route to the zoo area.  However, I took the route to the left.  That was a climb up to the top of the ridge.

Again, this was a mix of running and hiking.  It wasn't as tough of a climb as I expected, but it sure wasn't easy either.  It had switchbacks and some opportunities to recover on brief flat parts.  It was nice to get to the top of the ridge.  There were some pretty views of the zoo and area down below.

I ran along the ridge.  Then, the hill began to descend.  I was startled by a white creature along the trail, in the woods.  I then realized it had a collar and was just a dog.  Its owner came up the trail later.  I thought this part was remote, but it wasn't.  I was close to the bottom.

I had to use the bathroom at the bottom of the trail.  That cost me some time.  I was in no hurry.  I crossed the creek over the bridge. 

Next, it was on to the route that starts the Quadzilla race.  That's smooth and flat and then I turned back on to trail.  That had a short climb that wasn't too tough.  I think I took a slight shortcut on to the border trail.

I still had quite a few miles to go and was exhausted.  At least I knew the route now.  That was a big help as I battled along.  On flat or downhill sections, I had no breathing issues.  I struggled a little on the one gradual hill.  I was able to keep running though.

I knew that the long uphill after the road would be tricky.  In that area, they were building a canopy.  I guess they are going to use it with a bench.  That looks pretty cool.

This long hill was tough, but I went slow and battled up it.  I just focused on each step.  I knew I could run up and recover after that.  That is exactly what I did.  There was a lot of junk from KidsPeace across the trail.  That was disappointing.

I enjoyed the rolling hills after the dirt road segment.  I was thrilled to get to mile 9 and know that I was nearly done.  I knew there would be one tough climb left.  I crossed the road and that part began.

Again, this climb was tough, but all mental.  Climbing is largely mental.  Your breathing gets labored and your legs burn, but you have to ignore it and keep running.  Of course, knowing the route and successfully making the climb before is a big help.  I was able to do it again today.  I struggled to get up this steep part, but I did it.

I came up to two kids before the last short uphill.  I ran by them and their father.  He said something to me and I met him in the parking lot a short bit later.  I told him the route I took.

I went up that last short hill.  Then, I ran out to the gate in the parking lot.  I headed back toward the trail.  I wanted to get to mile 10.  I had only been to 9.9 miles when I arrived at the top.  My watch actually stopped at 9.99 miles.

This was a great new route.  I will take it often.  I'm even eager to take it twice next time.  That would be an impressive 20 miles and around 4,000 feet of elevation gain.  Most importantly, a lot of it is runnable.

I'm glad my foot feels good too.  I think it is supposed to rain tomorrow.  If so, I'm not sure that I'll run.  Maybe an easy one at Jacobsburg, if I do.  I have a morning and night order on Tuesday.  I may try to run again in between.  Perhaps I'll go to Trexler and run this route again.  It's the best option for elevation gain, without too many rocks.

9.99 miles - 1:41:59 (10:12 pace) and 1,913 ft of elevation gain

Friday, November 14, 2014

First Ramapo Mountain State Forest Run

It has been a tough week for me.  The rocks at the DWG Fatt Ass kicked my butt.  My foot has been sore, but it did feel a bit better today.  After a few days off, I decided that it was finally time to test it out on a run.

As usual, I wanted to go somewhere new to explore.  Ever since I drove back from Massachusetts, I've been wanting to go to Ramapo Mountain State Forest in Northern New Jersey.  It's only a little over an hour to get there and it's right off of the highway.  I had no real plan for how long to go.

I must've looked kind of funny at the start.  It snowed last night and still was chilly today.  However, it wasn't that bad.  I had on a mix of clothes.  I wore gloves and a long sleeve shirt.  I also had on shorts and a visor too.  I was very happy to see a sign for no hunting.  That meant that I didn't need a an orange vest.

I was impressed with how crowded the parking lot was.  Plenty of people were hiking on this Friday afternoon.  I bet this place is very crowded on the weekend.  My problems started early.  It was super rocky and technical.  My left foot started killing me whenever it landed on a rock.  I yelled in pain.

About a half mile in, I almost stopped.  However, I drove too far to quit.  I battled on.  I figured that if I had to, I'd hike for a bit.  There are ruins of a castle on top of the mountain there.  I didn't know how far out it was, but that was where I was hoping to go.

I guess I adjusted my footfalls better or the trail was smoother.  Either way, things got better.  Within the first mile, I came to a lake.  I ran around it.  It was very pretty.  I knew that the trail to the castle was off of the lake.  The lake path was stone and nice and smooth.

After going around the lake, I came to the trail up to the castle.  This was again super technical.  I had to do more hiking through this climb.  It was fun though.  My foot hurt every now and then, but it wasn't too bad.  I was thrilled to be able to manage it.

Finally, I came to the castle.  It was neat, although falling apart and nature is starting to take it over.  I stopped for a few photos.  Then, the trail was nice and smooth along the ridge for a bit.  This part was cool because there was some snow.

The trail then went to another structure.  It was rocky to there too.  In addition to the structures, there were some awesome views of the surrounding mountains.  One of the views to the east even had the Manhattan skyline off in the distance.

I was happy to be over 2 miles into the run now.  I lost the white trail for a bit, but then I found it.  It also ended at a stone road.  That went downhill, so I took it to add elevation when I came back up.  That was a good choice.  I went to the bottom and then came back up.

A mountain biker went out the other way from the top.  I decided to follow him.  This was a fun singletrack woods section.  It was rolling hills downward.  It wasn't too technical, but I had to be careful to avoid all the rocks.  Every now and then, I'd get to one.

I then turned on to the blue blazed trail and it was more of the same.  I went down and down.  Eventually I came to an intersection.  I followed the orange trail a bit.  I turned around at 3.6 miles.  I had gone far enough at that point.

Coming back meant a lot more climbing.  I ran most of it, but at times, I had to walk.  I had to make sure not to hit my foot on more rocks.  I ran past a guy that I said hello to earlier.  He didn't acknowledge me that time, so I said nothing this time.

I had trouble finding my way back.  The blue trail went way down a hill.  I knew I come from that way.  Eventually, I found the trail back.  It was unmarked, so that is why I missed it.  Someone had come up the trail behind me on a quad, before I turned.  I was glad he didn't keep following me.

Again, my running was a mix of that and hiking uphill.  There was some elevation throughout this run, but nothing too crazy.  If I wasn't beat up, it would've pretty much been all runnable.  I got back to the castle area in no time.

After that, it was almost all downhill back.  I stopped along the lake for a few photos.  It was a little rocky, so I was careful.  I ran past a woman and her dog.  This part as much more technical.

I wanted to get to 7 miles to finish, but I decided not to worry about it.  I wasn't going to run on the busy road.  I finished up in the parking lot with 6.9 miles.

This was a great place to run and well worth the trip.  There are miles and miles of trails there too.  I only just scratched the surface.  I will surely be back there.  It will be much better when I'm actually healthy.

I am glad that I can run okay on smooth trails.  I guess I'll just have to stick to easy trails for the time being.  It will be a lot of runs at Jacobsburg and maybe some at Trexler too.  Tomorrow, I'll probably take off.  I may try to run again on Sunday morning.

6.9 miles - 1:33:34 (13:34 pace)

Monday, November 10, 2014

DWG Recovery Run at J-Burg

I was fairly sore after the challenging 50k on Saturday.  I cramped up on Saturday evening too.  I probably could've run at Jacobsburg with Gary's group yesterday, but I didn't want to push it.  Even today, my legs felt good, but the bottom of my foot was sore.  It took a pounding from all of the rocks.

I wasn't going to run today, but then I didn't have to work.  I decided that I didn't feel too bad, so I'd go for an easy 6 miler at Jacobsburg.  That wouldn't beat me up too much.

The weather was fairly nice, in the low 50s.  I almost went with a long sleeve shirt, but I'm glad that I didn't.  I pushed harder than I planned and was sweating at the end.  It was cool, but I look forward to to it getting even colder.  It was sunny too, with all of the leaves gone from the trees.

I did my regular loop.  It was a nice and comfortable run along the creek.  The uphills bothered my legs slightly.  I was just cruising along.  I ended up running an 8:37 first mile.  That is quicker than I usually go.

I didn't enjoy the slight uphills much, but this route isn't bad at all.  It's kind of like a track in the world of trail running.  It's so fast.  The slightly rocky singletrack was a blast and I was through that in no time.  Mile 2 was an 8:18.

I wasn't pushing hard either.  I simply cruised along and enjoyed the day.  I did tell myself to back off and take it a little easier, but of course I didn't listen.  I felt good though.  I knew I just had to get through the one climb.

The powerline climb wasn't bad at all.  Mile 3 had dropped to an 8:55.  I was breathing a bit as I headed up the powerline.  I stayed consistent though.  I think I ran this mile faster than I ever had before.  It was a blazing 8:28.  I had no idea I was moving that quickly.  I was actually just looking for like a 9:30.

I knew it was basically all down hill after that.  Knowing the course is a huge advantage.  I relaxed and let my body just glide downhill.  There were a lot of leaves down, but luckily, few rocks.  I passed three people on horses on the way down.  Mile 5 was a 7:25.  That was without pushing much.

I then had mostly flat running and roads to go.  I ran by a hunter on the trail with a rifle.  It was a good thing I wore an orange vest.  I don't worry too much though, since these trails aren't remote or anything like that.  Some people have orange on, others don't.

I saw my time was improving, so I did hammer this last mile slightly faster.  My breathing was labored, but I certainly could've run harder too.  I came on home and finished up in the parking lot.  That last mile was a 6:54. 

I planned on an easy recovery, but this super easy trail often causes me to push more than I planned.  I guess I shouldn't look at my watch.  I think I might've run this loop faster than I ever have before.  I know I could go quite a bit faster too.  I might have to practice running faster workouts there.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping to get back at it again.  I'd like to head back to the AT at Wind Gap.  That can give me some climbing.  I might go to the Katellen Trail since it is less rocky and my foot is still sore.  On Thursday, I'm hoping to explore more again.  I might make a New Jersey trip then.

6 miles - 48:36 (8:06 pace)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

2014 Delaware Water Gap Fatt Ass

I didn't sign up for the Delaware Water Gap Fatt Ass before it sold out.  Last weekend, I decided to see if anyone dropped out and if they had any openings.  I was thrilled they had some spots available.  It was a tough race and obviously on short notice I didn't have time to train like I would've wanted.  It was great because a bunch of friends were running it too.  Plus, it's a rare close ultra.

I didn't know what to wear.  It was around 30 degrees at the start and only going to 44 by midday.  Running for 7 hours or so, this created a problem.  I struggled with it all day.  In the end, I went with a long sleeve shirt and jacket and tights.  I had a headband and gloves.  I took those on and off.  At times, I was sweating a lot and super hot.  Other times, I was hiking and freezing.  I could never quite get comfortable.

We started going downhill and on some roads.  I figured I might as well run at a road pace that I'm comfortable with.  That put me toward the front.  I talked to my friend Janine for a bit, before pulling away.  Two other friends, Aaron and Pat were way ahead.  I knew enough not to follow them.  I ended up catching up with the third place runner.

After the road, we were on to the Red Dot Trail to Mt. Tammany.  This is a super steep and rocky trail.  It was a very slow go for me, especially early.  The guy in third stopped for a minute and I was ahead.  That didn't last as he slowly ran up the trail while I hiked.  For awhile, I wasn't losing ground, but when it wasn't as steep, he took off. 

I was in no hurry, but I guess I made decent time.  I got to the top eventually and then it was on the Blue trail.  This is rocky, but runnable on the ridge.  Then, it is more rocky descending.  I cruised along, running a decent pace, but being rather cautious.

Near the bottom, another guy caught up to me.  I still felt that I was doing good and maybe this would finally be a break through day.  Of course it was early.  At the bottom of the hill was the first water stop.  I came through in under an hour and barely in 4th place.

Now, it was on to the gradual incline to Sunfish Pond.  This is very runnable and I did run a lot of it.  I made pretty good time.  However, the guy right behind me made much better time.  He pulled ahead in no time and again I was all alone.

I kept wondering when I would see Pat and Aaron coming back.  I think it was somewhere around a mile from the turnaround.  I did like this out and back to see people.  It was good to know how far behind someone that you were, as well as ahead of the next person.

I turned around at Sunfish Pond and then cruised mostly downhill.  I must've been a mile and a half up on the next guy.  There was another guy not far behind him.  I figured maybe those two could catch me, but I didn't think anyone else would.  I saw Janine and her husband.  Then, I saw other friends Bob, Tim, Tim, Laurie, Diana and Jo.

I was still making good time at the water stop again.  I was somewhere around 12 miles and still on pace for a sub 6 hour finish.  I didn't think I would do that well, but I was starting to think maybe I could PR.  That would be outstanding on this tough course.

We then climbed back up the Blue Trail.  I was disappointed that this part was so tough.  I was hoping to run more of it.  I didn't run much.  I ended up hiking most of it.  Another guy caught up to me and passed me.  We had some minor issues finding the Red Dot Trail.

This descent was by far the most technical.  I was hoping more of it would be runnable, but basically I just hiked most of it.  Some people were hiking up the mountain, for the views. 

Near the bottom, another guy caught up to me.  I was slipping with my cautious approach.  I didn't feel great, but not terrible either.  I was now over halfway done and more importantly, done with 3 of the 4 tough climbs.

We were now back on the bridge/road section.  Again, my ability on this stuff shone through.  I pulled away from the guy behind me.  I wasn't even running hard.  Although I didn't really enjoy this section, I did like that it was fast and I could make up some time.  I walked up some of the hill toward the parking lot. 

This part was huge for me.  I was now at 17.5 miles and back to my car.  My hydration pack was annoying, so I dropped it for a handheld.  I was glad that I did it.  I had not stopped at the water stops up to that point, but I took some time here.  I grabbed a few snacks to get some calories.  All I had been eating were GU Chomps.

The guy came into the parking lot a few minutes later.  I took off before him.  I began the ascent to Mt. Minsi.  I ran this earlier in the week and it was a long, gradual climb.  However, I was hurting at this point and couldn't run much of it.  That was quite frustrating.

I still just focused on trying to get to the top.  I thought it was easy running after that.  I was sure wrong.  Finally, somewhere around mile 19, I arrived at the summit.  That was a huge boost, for now.

After that was a grassy woods road.  It was kind of fast and easy running, so I did like it.  I thought it was like that the whole way to the turnaround at Route 191.  That was anything but the case.  After about 1.75 miles on this section, the AT took a turn into the woods.  It was now a narrow winding singletrack.  It was slow and rocky.

I was very frustrated with this part.  It was about 2 miles or so that seemed to go on forever.  It was rocky and I had been nearly cramping up earlier.  I couldn't run much on technical terrain.  I ended up doing a lot of hiking.

I was wondering where the heck that guy was.  I was moving super slow and should've been caught by someone.  Finally, he got to me with a little over a mile to the turn around.  One guy coming the other way said that it was 3/4 mile to the road.  I thought he said 1/4 of a mile.

Some people were hiking and very encouraging as I went out into an opening.  That was nice for a mini boost.  There were some beautiful views to the south.  I was very frustrated.  Then, the trail went along the ridge and wasn't too rocky.  For the first time in awhile, I could run.  I ran the final mile or so to Route 191.

I grabbed some chips and refilled my water.  I was glad that they put that stuff on the trail, rather than up at the road.  That made things easier.  The lead woman and man came by at the water stop.  They took off before me. 

It was good to be at mile 24.75.  That was a huge mental boost.  I tried to just focus on each upcoming mile.  I saw Janine coming the other way.  I was about a mile and a half ahead of her.  I complained about this section.  I figured she would probably catch me on the way back.

The good thing was that we were now going slightly downhill.  I was able to run much, much more in this section.  I still wasn't running a lot though.

I saw another woman coming the other way.  I tripped on a rock right by her and nearly cramped after that too.  My feet were taking a beating.  I was happy that I didn't cramp yet.  I was sore, but not doing terrible.  If I had runnable terrain, I would be running.  It was great to get to the marathon distance.

I just focused on getting to the grassy road section.  I knew I could run there.  It was a relief to get there.  I got into a groove and was able to run about a mile at a time.  Once, I didn't see some mud and I went right through it.

Near mile 29, I got back to the Mt. Minsi vista.  I was now going downhill on more technical trails.  There were quite a few rocks and I took it slowly.  I realized that breaking 7 hours would be nearly impossible.  I'd have to run fast down this part and I couldn't do that.  I did run where I could.

A lot of people were hiking up this section.  I coasted on down.  I kept wondering if Janine might catch me with this slow pace.  I looked back every now and then.  It was good to get into the last mile.

I ran a lot of this, but very slowly.  By now, I figured I was in the clear.  I didn't want to race Janine, but at the same time, I sure didn't want to be passed by anyone in the last mile.  I cruised down.

It was great to get to the pond near the finish.  I cruised on in.  A bunch of people were waiting around and hanging out.  I gave them my finishing time.  I didn't break 7 hours, but I was satisfied.

I needed time to recover before driving home.  I hungout and chatted with everyone for about 2 hours afterward.  It was a good time.  I think I finished 9th.  A lot of people stopped back at their cars and didn't run up Mt. Minsi.  It was good to meet some new people.

Of course the 5 mile section that I didn't run was much tougher than I expected.  That was surely my low point.  I knew this run would be tough, but it was tougher than I ever could've imagined.  I survived though.  It's all part of the process of getting better.  It's still only the 5th time ever that I've run this far.  If I run it next year, I should be much stronger.

I was hoping to run with some of the BCR people at Jacobsburg tomorrow.  I cramped up after the race and I'm sore, so that is doubtful.  Hopefully, I can get a short run on Monday at least.  I'm grateful for today's challenge.

31 miles - 7:11:07 (13:54 pace)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Swatara Gap AT Run

With the very challenging 50k coming up this weekend, I didn't want to overdo it.  I didn't work, so I decided to try something different today.  Once again, I headed to a new section of the Appalachian Trail, at Swatara Gap.  It's a little over an hour from my house, where Route 78 turns into Route 81.

I went to Cabela's first and started the run approaching 3 PM.  It was a cloudy and cool day.  We now finally have perfect weather.  If only this could last all year.  I still wore shorts and a lightweight long sleeve top.  It was orange since it is hunting season.  That wasn't needed though, as I saw no one the entire run.

I wanted to park right next to the AT.  However, there wasn't much parking there.  There are a ton of trails in the area on the State Game Lands.  It is known as the St. Anthony's Wilderness.  I never did find most of the trailheads.  I was only planning on running the AT anyway.  In the future, I'll explore things much more.  I got a good map of all the trails from Cabela's.

I ended up parking at the Trout Run Trailhead in Swatara State Park.  That park was undeveloped until a few years ago.  I headed out on the Trout Run Trail, which was a bike path for a bit.  I was very disappointed in the start.  It was all paved as it switchbacked down hill.  That is no fun.  It was pretty along the creek though.

After over a mile, I came to a  cool bridge and the AT.  The trail crosses over this foot bridge.  It is really old and used to be part of the railroad I guess.  This was a big coal and railroad area around 100 years ago.  Almost all of the towns have since disappeared.  That left a lot of trails and other paths though.

After crossing the bridge, there was a little more pavement for a bit.  At least I was now officially on the AT.  Then, the singletrack began.  First, the trail went under Route 81.  This area reminded me a lot of the Wind Gap section.

After going under the highway, it was time to begin climbing.  The ascent was gentle at first.  I had no issues.  After climbing a bit, the AT went along a ridge partway up the mountain. 

Following the ridge section was a series of switchbacks.  The combination of uphill, rocks and leaves made it tricky.  It wasn't overly rocky, but a little annoying.  With the fallen leaves, getting good grip was tough at times.  I continued along at a snail's pace.  I was still running.

It got a bit steeper toward the top.  My breathing was labored a bit.  I climbed over 500 feet of elevation gain.  Then, it just got too steep for me.  I had to hike.  Perhaps I could've battled the remaining few hundred feet if I knew what was in store, but it would've been a struggle.  Climbing new sections like this is largely mental.  I have to work on pushing a bit more.

After a brief hike of 200 to 300 feet, I began running again.  There was some more uphill, but I was mostly at the top at this point.  Now, I just had to do some ridge running.  The incline was slight, but I was still going uphill for most of the rest of this run until I turned around.

My plan was to go out to 3.5 miles and turn around.  I was also hoping to find the first view.  The issue was that I started farther away from the AT than I had planned, so I guess I never got to that point. 

I kept going out, enjoying the ridge running.  There were a few up and downs, but not much.  It was pretty as the fallen leaves offered a seasonal view through the trees.  I could see farmland and Route 78 and Route 81.  The trail was nice in this section.  It was rocky enough to slow me down, but not too rocky.  With all the leaves down, I had to be a little cautious not to run on hidden rocks.

I went out to 3.5 miles and decided to keep going.  The trail became more runnable and I was still hoping to find the view.  I knew I was close.  However, I was already going to be late for dinner, so I only went to 3.75 miles and then turned around.

Coming back was nice as it was slightly downhill.  I really opened it up.  I still had to be careful, due to all the rocks.  A couple sections were super rocky.  Overall, it was pretty runnable though.  There were enough rocks that it required focus.

I thought about how far I've come on technical trails and climbs like this and how much farther I have to go.  I wondered how much myself from a year ago would struggle to keep up with my current self on this kind of terrain.  I also thought about how my current self would struggle with the same, trying to keep up with myself from next year.  It's all a process and I'm getting better with every run.  I have thousands of road miles, but I'm still relatively inexperienced on this type of terrain.

After hitting the 5 mile point, the trail began to descend.  I was careful at the top, as it was quite steep.  I got faster and more confident as I neared the bottom.  I thought about my technique at the bottom too.  I read/watched some stuff about downhill running and it talked about leaning forward and extending your legs back.  I'm good doing that on smoother downhills, but I worry about tripping on rocky parts like this.

Another thing I practiced was looking farther ahead on the trail, rather than straight down.  That seemed to work well toward the end of the descent and I seemed to run faster.  Maybe the terrain was just easier.  It was kind of weird not seeing what I was able to run over.  I only stumbled a few times though.  Every now and then throughout the run, I twisted my ankle or slipped, but nothing was too bad.

Finally, I was down off the mountain and back onto the paved trail.  I went over the bridge and uphill on the other side.  My back started bothering me a bit on this part.  I think that the road sections are what gave me some slight soreness there at the DWG the other day.  Hopefully, it isn't too much of a problem on Saturday.

I finished up at 7.5 miles, right at the parking lot.  My car was now completely alone in the lot.  I was happy to be done.  I did some climbing, but the run didn't take much out of me.  I should be ready to go for Saturday.

Tomorrow, it is supposed to rain.  I'll likely do nothing.  On Friday, I hope for an easy Jacobsburg run or maybe even a loop or two at South Mountain (Lehigh).  Saturday is the tough race.  I would've liked more preparation, but I should survive it.  It will be my toughest race to date.

7.5 miles - 1:28:13 (11:45 pace)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mt. Tammany & Mt. Minsi

This weekend was disappointing.  Between work and football and shitty weather, I didn't run at all.  I only ran twice last week, in fact and had a light October overall.  It is time to get back into gear.

Over the weekend, I decided to email the DWG Fatt Ass race director and see if any spots were available for this coming weekend's 50k.  It was free and I looked at it for awhile.  However, I thought perhaps I'd try another marathon.  By the time I changed my mind, it was sold out.  I was thrilled when he said they did have spots and he'd add me to the list.

I ran and hiked the DWG several times in the last few weeks.  I knew it is a crazy, tough course.  I like the challenge.  It summits Mt. Tammany twice and Mt. Minsi once.  Plus, it goes out to Sunfish Pond, which is another climb.  If I had to guess, I'd say it is over 6,000 feet of elevation gain.  Plus, it is super rocky and technical.

I decided that I would run the parts of the course that I had not seen yet (at least most of them).  The plan was to park at the start in PA, run up Mt. Tammany and then come back and run up Mt. Minsi.  That is the start and end of the course and I figured that it would be about half of the course.

I didn't work, so I went out early in the afternoon.  I didn't eat breakfast until late, so I never had lunch.  I'm sure I was light on calories and that didn't exactly help during this run.  I found the parking area without too much trouble.  There is a limit of 50 people for the race.

I wasn't sure what to wear.  Without wind, it was nice.  I was going to go with short sleeves.  However, I decided on a light weight long sleeve orange shirt.  That was perfect for the windy parts at the top of the mountains.  I may wash that and wear it for the race.  I also had on a glove on my water bottle hand, since that hand got cold during last week's run. 

The course starts off by following the northbound Appalachian Trail.  It goes downhill.  Then, you run across the bridge next to Route 80.  It is still a ways to go yet until you hit the Mt. Tammany Trail.  It was nearly 2 miles of pavement up to that point.  While I don't like running on the pavement, it is my strength and I'll run that section relatively fast during the race.

I had hiked Mt. Tammany before, but never ran it.  I knew it was difficult, but I forgot how difficult.  It was mostly just a hike today.  I was able to run briefly early on.  However, it was just too steep of a climb to run much of.  With all the leaves on the ground, I lost the trail several times.  I was always only a few feet away.  I won't get too far off course during the race, if I do get off course.

The climb seemed to go up and up.  It was even a tough hike and I struggled with my breathing.  There are rocks everywhere and one super crazy boulder section.  Those are kind of tough to climb over.  It was slow, but eventually I made it to the top.  My quads and lower back were pretty sore though.  I had climbed over 1,000 feet in just over a mile.

At the top, I stopped and took some photos.  There was a couple hiking with their dogs.  The one barked at me like crazy.  I continued to walk around the top of the mountain for a bit.  Somehow I went down the wrong trail and had to backtrack to find the Blue Trail.  Now, it will be easier to find on Saturday.

The trail ran along the top for a bit and was still quite rocky.  Then, it was the long downhill mile back to the AT.  I passed the couple with the dog again.  I startled another hiker because I didn't say anything.  I was pretty much walking by this point.  He talked to me about some elk encounter he had.  Then, I ran on down the mountain.  I passed another guy hiking down and several more people hiking up. 

The descent was runnable, but still quite rocky and not super fast.  I had to be cautious.  I did cruise when I could.  It was much easier at the bottom.  Eventually, I came to the AT.  Rather than continue to Sunfish Pond or back up Mt. Tammany, I stayed on the AT south until the parking area and then back across the Route 80 Bridge.  Again, I didn't enjoy the bridge section, but at least I could run and put up a decent time. 

There is an uphill on pavement to the parking lot and my car.  I wanted to run up all of it, but I just didn't have it in me.  I stopped at the car and ate the other half of an energy bar.  I badly needed calories.  The brief rest was nice too.

I then headed back out to climb Mt. Minsi.  I have never run or hiked this at all.  The early part was climbing, but it was very gradual.  It was somewhat technical, but also very runnable.  I didn't waste too much energy either.  I cruised along.  I saw a few hikers coming down and different points.

There were a couple great overlooks.  After the first one, the trail became much more technically challenging and much less runnable.  It was very rocky and also a narrow and winding singletrack.  It was fun though.

After my back was hurting earlier, it felt good as I went up this more gradual incline.  This route did seem to go on forever.  Finally, I reached the summit and took some more pictures.

The race course goes out several more miles.  It does so on a fire road.  It was nice and wide and easy to run on.  It is pretty much flat too, as it runs on top of the mountain.  I decided to run out another mile, until after mile 11.  This added some faster running into my slow running up to that point.

I saw a deer at the top of the mountain.  I've never seen a deer up that high before (around 1,500 feet).  It was good to finally turn around and head back.  I was glad to get to the Mt. Minsi Vista.  Shortly after that, it was back downhill.  This descent seemed more technical than when I was climbing it.  It definitely threw me off.  I was clearly calorie depleted too.  Going from smooth, easy running to technical running was difficult.  I had to walk a lot.  I had anticipated running most of this.

It did get much more runnable around mile 13.  By that time, the sun was beginning to set behind the mountain.  Visibility was a bit of a challenge.  I managed to get by okay though.  Some sections have steep rocks and will be quite interesting when I'm tired at the end of the race, especially if I'm close to cramping up.

By the final mile, my quads, legs and back were hurting again.  I knew I climbed a lot, but it was only about half of the race course, both in distance and elevation.  It beat my body up like crazy anyway.  I knew this race would be quite the challenge, but perhaps I'm not prepared for how hard it is.  It was good to be back at the car after over 14 miles of running.

I can't do much more to prepare for the race.  I'll probably go to Lehigh Gap tomorrow anyway.  I think I'll just climb up the Winter Trail.  Maybe I'll add some running at the top too.  It won't be a big run and not the challenge of this weekend.

This was a great run to get a feel for the rest of the course.  It is super tough, but there are runnable parts too.  I guess it's largely a matter of whether my body can survive or if it crashes badly.  If it doesn't get any worse than today, I'll be alright.  It could be much worse though, with two more climbs.  I look forward to the race regardless.  I just have to survive.  I was hoping to run under 7 hours, but that will be tough to do.  It may be close though, if I run well.  I did stop a lot today and will do much less of that on Saturday.

14.34 miles - 3:24:05 (14:14 pace)